We are applying for industry accreditation that requires all staff to have a criminal history check. The company will pay for this but what avenues are available to us if anyone refuses?

An employee needs to give evidence and authorisation to obtain a police check. An employer who wants the employee to obtain a criminal history check and to provide this to them should ask them to do so.

If the employee refuses, the employer can only require them to comply if this would constitute a lawful and reasonable direction. If the direction is lawful and reasonable then it may be open for the employer to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the employee if they refuse to abide by it.

An employer who is in an industry which has accreditation obligations that require employees to obtain criminal history checks may have a strong argument to make that the direction to obtain the check would be lawful and reasonable. This may include, for example, employers in the child care industry.

If the direction is not lawful and reasonable then the employer would be unable to compel the employee to produce the police check and could not take any disciplinary against them for failing to do so.

An example of when it may be unreasonable to direct an employee to produce a police check may be where the employer has a variety of tasks that the employee could complete in the business without the need for a police check.

The lawfulness and reasonableness of a direction will depend on the particular circumstances of the scenario in question.

More information

For more information about this subject or any workplace matterplease call the Ai Group Workplace Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77.